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3 in the Key: Raptors' Game-Day Preview vs. Nets

Is neutralizing Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov as well as JAY-Z a key to a win tonight??
Is neutralizing Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov as well as JAY-Z a key to a win tonight??

The Toronto Raptors will play their second last home game of the season tonight against Jay-z and the New Jersey Nets. The HQ's Sasha Kalra previews the action...

There are 3 games left in the season. The Raptors have played 79 games so far. DeMar DeRozan's offensive game has developed in front of our eyes. Ed Davis looks to be a keeper and a great find. Reggie Evans is a very good rebounder. David Andersen has not been missed since his departure.

These statements I can say with certainty and conviction, as I fully believe in them. In a season full of question marks and uncertainty it has been a hobby of mine to stop worrying about what should be done and focus more on what has been done. We know that Andrea Bargnani has had mixed reviews in his 1st season as the team's franchise player and we know that Jared Sullinger and others have decided to stay in college instead of declaring for the draft. As the most hardcore of Raptors fans it is only natural for us to wonder about these truly deep and existential questions surrounding our favourite team.

Here's the thing, we have all summer for that. So lets all just forget about the draft talk and everything else that needs to be addressed and wait until at least Thursday morning to bring those issues back into the fold. There are 3 games left in the season and with a potential lockout looming it would be best to simply enjoy them.
But enough about that, we have a game to preview folks! The Raptors will come up against the Nets, a team lauded for having one of the best 4 man combinations in worldwide sports. In Deron Williams, Mikhail Prokhorov, Jay-z, and Kris Humprhies, the New Jersey Nets have the capability to cause havoc on and off the court and the Toronto Raptors will have to be at their best to avoid an impending blowout. They have championship-caliber bench players in Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar, and they will be looking to teach this young Raptors team a thing or two about ballin' in June.

Here are the 3 keys to tonight's game:

1.  Rattle the Hump.  In Kris Humphries the Nets have a player that they believe will challenge for the title of the NBA's Most Improved Player.  His ability as a "player" has improved dramatically over the course of this 82-game season as he has gone from living in his parents basement to dating social icon Kim Kardashian. Kris Kardashian has a nice ring to it, and he will try his hardest tonight to justify such an elaborate name. Raptors fans have the ability to rattle Hump and throw him off his game, and this opportunity must be taken if we are to get a win. Fans need to show up in their Rafael "Hoffa" Araujo jerseys tonight and remind the golden boy that he was once traded for Hoffa. He may have forgotten about that trade but we sure haven't. By reminding him of his humble roots he may just be distracted enough to spare us.

2.  Take advantage of the "Young Ones" section.  Jay-z, part owner of the Nets, was caught visiting the locker room of the Kentucky Wildcats after they defeated North Carolina to advance to the Final Four. As an owner he wasn't allowed to be there and his antics ended up resulting in a 50 thousand dollar fine for the Nets. Hova is likely to be in attendance tonight and in order to nullify his influence on proceedings the Raptors have to make sure that he sits in the Young Ones section. The name Young Ones sounds peculiar and I am confident that he will be fined by the league for his sitting in their section. I doubt that most of the NBA knows who or what the Young Ones are anyways, so this should be a no-brainer.

3.  Play without fear.  With games coming up against dead-rubber opponents such as the Heat and Bucks this game represents our toughest test of the season. The ACC will be rocking and it will be up to our players to harness that energy for the benefit of the team. To do so the Raptors must forget about the greatness of the Nets and focus on themselves. It will be hard not to think about some of the all-time greats that have suited up for the Nets. This is the franchise that was home to Kerry Kittles, Marcus Williams, Keith Van Horn and Derrick Coleman for years as they built their own legacies and made their mark on the association. The Raptors will need to somehow forget about the prestige of this game and play without fear; if they don't, it could spell their demise.

Sasha Kalra

PS - Some of that was satirical fiction and some of it I truly believe. You be the judge...